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    DESERT HOT SPRINGS MOTEL
    Designed by John Lautner
    www.johnlautner.org
    Click on any image to enlarge

    With the current international interest in mid-century modernist architecture, it is no surprise that there is a lot of attention surrounding the reopening of John Lautner’s 1947 treasure, the Desert Hot Springs Motel. Built ten years after Lautner worked with Frank Lloyd Wright in building Taliesin West in Arizona, the motel was created as a hideaway for Hollywood talent. The original client who commissioned John Lautner to build the motel was Lucien Hubbard, a writer and producer in Hollywood. Hubbard began his career with the Vitagraph Film Company and is responsible for the important pioneering silent film “The Perils of Pauline” in 1916. His film “wings” won the first Academy Award for a motion picture in 1927.

    Architects, designers and lovers of architecture and design are drawn to this important building which heralded many of the modernist tenets. Guests can now enjoy the dramatic play of light throughout the day and night that the motel rooms achieve with their clerestories and glass walls surrounded by private patios. The opportunity to visit and “live” in a Lautner environment is a very special experience.

    Desert Hot Springs Motel, located on the outskirts of Palm Spring, is composed of four intimate interlocking units, each with it’s own patio and cacti garden. The structure is gunite (sprayed concrete), steel, glass and redwood. According to Al Hess, in his book Palm Springs Weekend, Lautner’s motel is “the most ingenious” of all the Palm Springs area motels. He lists the motel as number eight in the “20 Most Architecturally Significant Properties in Palm Springs.” Lucia Young in “Travel and Leisure Magazine” (June 2001) describes the Lautner Motel as her favorite of all the mid-century motels in the Palm Springs area. Young states: “It’s one of the most amazing spaces I’ve ever set foot in.” “Modernism Magazine” describes the motel as “the most fascinating” of the modernist revival motels and hotels in the region (Summer 2002).

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    Copyright © 2008 David Shearer